District No. 3120

Dictionary Project

Cedar Rapids Elks Lodge 251 Dictionary Project                                                           Submitted by Ricki Arbogast, Loyal Knight

Cedar Rapids Lodge #251 is pleased to partner with the National Dictionary Project in providing age-appropriate dictionaries for third grade students in the metro area.  During the past seventeen years, our Lodge has provided 26,500 to students.  Cedar Rapids Lodge #251 is the leader of the Elks in the State of Iowa in providing dictionaries to third grade students through the Dictionary Project.  Funding for this project is provided through an Elks Gratitude Grant, Lodge member donations and by contributions from local business leaders. 

Teachers are very grateful for the dictionaries and say that even though computers, tablets and I-Pads are used extensively in most schools today, they wait until the Elks deliver and present the dictionaries so dictionary skills can be taught correctly.  The teachers also tell us that they are very pleased to have age-appropriate dictionaries due to cuts in education funding in Iowa.  Research shows that students who have access to a personal dictionary have a significant increase in their reading, writing, vocabulary, punctuation and critical thinking skills.  Many of these dictionaries are the only reference book that some students may ever be able to call their own.

During our Dictionary presentation, we take the opportunity to provide information about other Elks programs, including Hoop Shoot Contest, Drug Awareness Coloring Book Contest, Scholarship Programs and Youth Golf Tournaments.  The smiles on the faces of the third grade students are priceless, and we receive our reward in hundreds of cards, thank you letters and drawings sent to our Lodge afterward. 

This project has provided an excellent way to involve Elks and volunteers from our Lodge in a worthwhile project serving the youth of our community.


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